Cable Bay Walkway
Key information: Cable Bay Walkway
- This three and a half hour walk from Glen Duan to Cable Bay (or vice versa) incorporates steepish hill climbs - through farmland and native forest areas which are amply rewarded with breathtaking views of Boulder Bank, Nelson City and Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks.
- Great walk for people who have travelled to the area to do the Abel Tasman Track and would like to see more of the beautiful and diverse natural environment.
- Walkopedia rating83
- Natural interest14
- Human interest8
- Negative points0
- Total rating83
- Length: 9km
- 3.5 hrs
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Traversing the headland between Glen Duan and Cable Bay (or vice versa) this three and a half hour walk incorporates hill climbs through farmland and native forest areas and rewards with dazzling views of Boulder Bank, Nelson City and Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks.
Cable Bay got its name in the 19th Century, when New Zealands first international telegraph cable (connecting New Zealand and Australia) was laid here in 1876. Following a fire in 1914, the cable was moved to Titahi Bay, near Wellington, but the bays name remains.
If you start this walk from Glen Duan (recommended as there is a lovely café in Cable Bay where you chill at the end of your walk), you begin by walking up the hill through the village to the farmland above, where the track winds up, through grazing land, to a summit which offers outstanding views back towards Nelson city and out across the Tasman Sea. The compulsion to take photos is twofold both to capture the view and to recover breath after the steep climb.
From there one heads along the headland to an area of native forest, which, on a hot day, provides welcome shade from the strong New Zealand sun.
The last stage of the walk descends steeply through further grazing land, where, if you are lucky you can look out over the headland and see huge sting rays gliding through the turquoise water in the bay below.You will need to arrange transport from the end point of your walk, as both are fairly secluded locations that are not accessed by public transport. Don't expect to be able to arrange this from your mobile when you have completed the walk, as there is currently no mobile reception in Cable Bay.
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
See also expedition planning, including our universal expedition checklist.
Walkopedia encourages responsible travel.
Books and Maps
Books on this walk
Touring the Natural Wonders of New Zealand – Peter Janssen et al
Lonely Planet: Tramping in New Zealand – Jim DuFresne (Lonely Planet Walking Guide)
Lonely Planet: New Zealand South Island – Charles Rawlings-Way (Lonely Planet Regional Guides)
Rough Guide to New Zealand – Tony Mudd, Paul Whitfield and Laura Harper (Rough Guide Travel Guides)
A map of the route is provided on information boards at either end of the walk and the route is clearly marked along the way. However, if you feel you would like a printed map of the route, they are available at the Nelson Tourist Office, 75 Trafalgar Street, Nelson.
Stanfords: www.stanfords.co.uk. An excellent (and user-friendly) online specialist source of worldwide maps (it is also good for guidebooks).
Best times to walk/weather
Best times to walk
This walk can be done comfortably all year round, but is closed for a time during lambing in spring (September/October). If you wish to walk during this time, check with the Nelson Tourist Office (+64 3 546 6228) to see whether or not it will be open.
Given the exposed nature of much of this walk, a winter trip may prove a cold and wind-swept experience. Stick to early summer (November) or Autumn (March/April) for the best walking conditions, when it shouldn’t be too hot or too wet and windy.
To get the best shots of the view and have the best chance of seeing the stingrays from the cliff top, go for a clear, sunny day.
This walk is not a round trip, so even if you have your own transport, you will need to arrange to be picked up at the end of the walk and returned to where you left your car. Allow extra time to admire the views and take photographs, arrange to be picked up from the Cable Bay Café. Make sure you arrange your pick up before you go as mobiles don't work in the bay and you face having to trek all the way back up the hill to get reception!
See Walk Summary above.
Possible problems, health, other warnings
· Heat and strong sun. Carry enough water and protect yourself.
See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Make sure you have appropriate insurance.
Guided or independent?
This walk can easily be done independently, as the track is well maintained and adequately signposted.
It is prohibited to camp on this route, but accommodation is widely available in the local area. If you are staying in the area for a while, Nelson city is a great place to base yourself as there are transport connections to a wide range of activities.
Other information and tips
Useful websites and information
There are many websites with relevant information. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.
• Try www.flickr.com for pictures of this walk.
Other things to do in the area
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
Responsible travel matters, a lot. How you travel will make a real difference - for better or worse. PLEASE consider this when making plans. Read more